When you work primarily with achievers, goal-setting is typically an important part of the process. And let’s face it, most of us achievers love to set, work toward, and fulfill meaningful goals.
But these days, many are hesitant. “Nothing went according to plan this year,” a friend recently said. “Do I even bother setting new goals?”
My short answer: YES. And here’s why.
Science has repeatedly shown us that working toward meaningful goals benefits our overall wellbeing.
“People who strive for something personally significant … are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations,” writes researcher Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky in her excellent book, The How Of Happiness.
She gives examples like learning a new craft, changing careers, or raising moral children. “Having meaningful goals bolsters our self-esteem,” she confirms.
Numerous other scientists report similar findings. Even without the abundant research behind it, you have probably experienced the focus, motivation, and sense of flow that can accompany moving toward a meaningful, purposeful goal.
Maybe instead of giving up goals altogether, shift how you design them. Some considerations:
Start with celebration.
Be honest: When setting new resolutions or goals, do you start by focusing on all that you do well – or on all the areas you still need to improve?
Most begin with the latter. I encourage you to do the opposite.
Before you even ponder goal possibilities for 2021, make a list of wins you’ve experienced in the past year or two. A work promotion, an exercise routine, keeping your houseplants alive … they all count.
Start your process from a place of celebration and optimism. You’ll create far better – and likely much more meaningful – goals as a result.
Focus on short-term objectives.
Clarify the big picture – whether that’s 10 years into the future, five years, or one. Then, focus your energy in the present.
This is an area we’ll really place as a priority in the 2021 ASPIRE Success Club. Members will receive training to set a Bold Goal for the year, but then will also have quarterly, monthly, and weekly resources (and accountability, if they choose) to ensure they know what actions to take on any given day to move them toward their goal.
On a Tuesday morning in February, it’s much easier to say, “What do I need to do today to reach this week’s objective?” rather than “What do I need to do today to reach the goal I’m aiming for ten months from now?”
Change your vocabulary.
Someone recently emailed me with the line, “To the queen of goal-setting!” I would gladly accept this title – but I have met many people in my 17+ years as a coach who associate goals with frustration, failure, and less-than-enjoyable experiences.
If the word ‘goal’ brings up negative connotations for you, here’s an easy tip: Replace the word.
Intention, aspiration, target – open your favorite thesaurus app and see what speaks to you.
And the most important component, in my opinion: Know your why. Knowing the purpose behind your goal will fuel your motivation like nothing else, another aspect we spend a good deal of focus on in ASPIRE.
How are you rethinking goals for the new year? Share your thoughts below. And if you’d like an entire series on goal-setting for 2021, let me know or join the ASPIRE Success Club, where you’ll start experiencing positive, purposeful goal-setting training next month!
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